2018 UK summer heatwave made thirty times more likely due to climate change
Human-induced climate change has made the 2018 record-breaking UK summer temperatures about 30 times more likely than it would be naturally, the Met Office will say at CoP24 - in Katowice, Poland – later today (Thursday 6 December 2018).
Professor Peter Stott is a world-leading expert on climate attribution based at the Met Office and the University of Exeter in the UK. He said: “Our provisional study compared computer models based on today’s climate with those of the natural climate we would have had without human-induced emissions. We find that the intensity of this summer’s heatwave is around 30 times more likely than would have been the case without climate change.”
Met Office scientist Dr Nikolaos Christidis who was also involved in the study said: “Our models show that there is now about a 12% chance of summer average temperatures being as high as the UK experienced in summer 2018. This compares with a less than half per cent chance we’d expect in a natural climate.”
In the UKCP18 climate projections published last week, the Met Office described that by mid-century, such hot summers could become very common, happening around 50% of the time.
Professor Stott added: “This rapidly increasing chance results from the increase in concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The most recent figure is for 2017, which shows the atmosphere held around 405.5 parts per million of CO2. This represents 146 % of the values in the pre-industrial era (before 1750), when the atmospheric concentration was about 280 parts per million.”
2018 was the equal-warmest summer for the UK in a series from 1910, along with 2006, 2003 and 1976.
The UK’s hottest day of the summer was on 27 July, with 35.6 °C recorded at Felsham (Suffolk); 32 °C was exceeded widely across East Anglia and south-east England on both 26 and 27 July and temperatures reached 35 °C on both dates in parts of East Anglia, Kent and central London. Temperatures above 35 °C are unusual but not unprecedented in the UK having been recorded in the summers of 2015, 2006, 2003, 1995, 1990 and 1976. More information here.
Today’s announcement is part of an ongoing in-depth Met Office analysis of the causes of the 2018 heatwave. Other components to this research will include the role of changing circulation patterns and ocean temperatures.
Professor Stephen Belcher, Met Office Chief Scientist said: “The extreme temperatures experienced in the UK and around the world during summer 2018 had a significant impact upon many people’s lives. Analysis from scientists at the Met Office has shown that we now live in a climate in which heatwaves will occur much more frequently and, depending on the choices we make around greenhouse gas emissions, we could reach a point in the future when we can expect a hot summer like that of 2018 to occur every year.”
Latest News from
It's getting colder16/01/2019 13:15:00
After a relatively mild winter so far, temperatures are going to take a dip this week and there are signs the cold weather could stick around for some time.
2019: close to record-breaking year, forecasts Met Office21/12/2018 10:15:00
The Met Office global temperature forecast suggests that 2019 will be close to record warmth due to climate change and the added effect of El Niño-related warming in the Pacific.
Snow on the way this weekend14/12/2018 12:47:00
With the first heavy snowfall of the season forecast for parts of the country this weekend, the Met Office warns people to prepare for possible travel disruption on one of the busiest weekends in the lead-up to Christmas.
Centennial recognition for 'Memories of Weather'13/12/2018 10:15:00
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has officially designated six Met Office observing sites across the UK as ‘Centennial Stations’.
Most detailed picture yet of UK's future climate27/11/2018 10:15:00
The UK’s most comprehensive picture yet of how the climate could change over the next century was yesterday launched by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
Are you #WeatherReady?22/11/2018 09:25:00
Two thirds of British people have been caught out by severe weather, according to latest research from the Met Office, despite 9 in 10 believing that preparing for winter weather is important.
Metop-C satellite launch gives Met Office another set of 'eyes in the sky'08/11/2018 09:15:00
Yesterday’s launch of the newest EUMETSAT weather satellite continues the development of a programme which gives the UK’s Met Office access to world-leading weather data from polar orbit.
Extreme weather reveals changing climate02/11/2018 14:15:00
A new report by the Met Office, published yesterday, reveals further details about changes in the UK’s climate since the 1960s.